Tag Archives: Kevin Durant

2015-2016 Basketball Season Preview

12 Oct

The wait is almost over. It was a good ass off season, but it is time to start cranking it back up. Hoops season is back, and I couldn’t be happier. So let’s skip the foreplay and talk about the upcoming season, my favorite story lines A to Z.


You could put Damien Lillard, Andrew Wiggins, and James Khardasian Harden on a barnstorming tour with 2 scrubs and they’d run shit……that is until they ran into the top 3 Nike ballers and their 2 scrubs.

If you were ever thinking about buying some Adidas stock, now would be the time to do it before the season starts (It has risen 10 points since I first checked it in September). That being said, just ask Ray J, Reggie Bush, Kris Humphries, Bruce Jenner, and Lamar Odom how much better their lives are after getting involved with that family. 



I was a little skeptical about the Billy Donovan hire. A year before KD’s free agency seemed like bad timing to try and shake things up. But after reading a couple of interviews, and after Monty Williams and Mo Cheeks were hired as assistant coaches, I feel a lot more optimistic about the Thunder’s upcoming season, and their chances of re-signing Kevin Durant. There will be a learning curve, but not nearly as steep as most first year head coaches.

He has all the tools (assuming his star players are healthy) to make the Western Conference Finals. Only a fool however; would try and compare his rookie season to Steve Kerr’s first year as coach. Kerr has been a GM, an announcer, and played for Lute Olson, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich.  This is Donovan’s first season IN THE LEAGUE. It will take a series of fortunate bounces for Donovan to make it out of the West, and beat Lebron in the NBA Finals.


This is the year my man takes the leap and shows the world he was the player I thought he was when he was saucing up Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

 The dude can get buckets, and he will be asked to help out with the scoring load for the Trailblazers. When they let Wes Matthews go, I think the front office was banking on C.J. staying healthy (he hasn’t played a full season in 3 years counting his senior year at Lehigh) and taking his game to a higher level. This could be a fun backcourt to watch in years to come.


That is right. KD is back and he says he is feeling fine. The playoffs are not the playoffs without KD playing involved. I had gotten so used to the Thunder making the post season, that it felt odd to not have them around. It shows how fast six years can go by.


Not quite as wack as last year, but still kind of an eye sore for the basketball purists. Fred Hoiberg will be a breath of fresh air in the Chicago locker room. The Heat will be competitive again (more on them later I promise) and the Celtics will look to improve on their season by actually being .500 again. Lebron will have to work for it a little bit more, meaning they may lose 3 more games in the post season than last year. Unless there is a catastrophic injury to LBJ, you can pretty much pencil them in for the Finals. You cannot say that about ANY team in the west.



J-Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks will push the Heat to 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Mark it! They are long, young, fast, and Jason Kidd, who was already a head coach on the court as a player, will be worth at least ten regular season wins alone.

The man is brilliant, and if you’ve ever wondered why people complain about Chris Paul as a leader, then go watch some old game footage of Kidd. Everyone who has ever played with Kidd talks about how great of a teammate and leader he was. As great of a player as Paul is, I’ve never once heard a teammate describe him as supportive. 


Yep. If you were worried that there wouldn’t be a white Duke player to rot against this year, I just served you one up on a platter. Grayson kept the Dukies in last year’s National title game, with some tremendous energy off the bench. If you took Steve Wojciechowski’s antics and gave Ron Paulus hops, then you would have this guy. I actually like this cat. He plays hard. He works hard. He can bang on you if you sleep on him, and from every interview I’ve seen he seems like a great teammate. 

He does not strike me as someone who takes anything for granted. But yeah, fuck Duke. I’d be shocked if they won it all this year. Tyus Jones is in the pro’s now, and that guy was the best PG they’ve had since Jay Williams. Go ahead and pencil in another early round exit for the Blue Devils. Nothing makes me happier than typing those words.


This cat is like Andrew Bynum without the knee injuries. Homie can ball, but dude is a little “Goof Troop.” His 2K rating will surely go up this year, because he when he is in the lineup, you can expect bro to put up a double double—and that is just in rebounds and blocks. He doesn’t even need to score to affect the game. That being said, he can just easily do something stupid to get himself taken out of the game. But if rebounding and defense get you aroused, then grab a Kleenex and tune in to Miami Heat games.


Fuck Injuries. Let’s pray for a year without any major injuries to the superstar players. We already know the score concerning Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving, but last season was just ridiculous.  Can we at least have every team playing in the post season relatively healthy? I’ll sacrifice a bucket of chicken to the injury gods. I suggest that you all do the same.


What the fuck? I started out writing a basketball preview column and it has turned into 2014 Duke Blue Devils tribute. I cannot believe that Winslow fell to the number 10 pick. Every team that had the 4-9 picks are going to be kicking themselves. Winslow is fast, he plays defense, and he is athletic. You want to know why Duke won it all last year? It was because of this guy.

Winslow should have been playing in New York or Charlotte. He is my preseason pick for Rookie Of the Year. As my mother used to say to me whenever I was one strike away from an epic ass whupping , “If you don’t believe me then just hide and watch. 


As in the state of Kansas. This year there will be three Kansas teams in the top 25, and two of them, Wichita State and University of Kansas, have legitimate chances of being in the Final Four (if they can somehow avoid being put in the same bracket). The Shockers bring back the best backcourt in the country with Fred VanFleet and Ron Baker (Baker played in the PanAm games up in Toronto this summer with my boy Keith “K-Freeze” Langford). They are also bringing on Connor Frankamp to help out with the ball handling duties (he can shoot too). They are poised for a deep run into the tourney this year.

As for the Jayhawks, well this is finally the year I’ve been waiting for when Frank Mason and Wayne Selden came onto the campus as freshmen.  They are finally mature enough to take the helm, and you know Perry Ellis is going to quietly get his 20 points and 8 rebounds during his senior campaign.

Devonte Graham has one more year of experience under his belt, and Svi Mykhailiuk will be ready to contribute more on the court as a super sophomore. Self has a rotation of big men (Chieck please!!!!) in the front court, and they have the depth to wear a team down. With Hoiberg coaching the Bulls now, Self will have even less competition this year en route to his 13th straight Big 12 championship. Self’s stranglehold on the conference will end soon now that UT has made a major upgrade with Shaka Smart taking over for Rick Barnes.

 As for K-State? No one gives a shit about them. although i’ll give them props for almost beating TCu the other night in football.


This is the year I finally get it. Fuck this streaming shit. “Ain’t nobody got time for dat”


The Panda King is back on the LOL Lakers who may not be so LOL this year. It is still a rebuilding year, but did you ever think you’d see the day where you’d feel less hatred for the Lakers locker room than the Clippers? More on those busters later. If you ever want to take a trip to the twilight zone, follow Ron –ahem Metta on Twitter. Dude is out there. He elbowed Harden in the head way before it was fashionable to even feel that way. Maybe homie is Meta.


Other than Oklahoma City, the same teams will be in the playoffs. It was much harder to talk myself into Utah and Quinn Snyder (fuck Mizzou), and Phoenix,than it was to talk myself out of Memphis’ old ass roster.


We are on the cusp of a new age in San Antonio. The new big three for the Spurs going forward will be “Lamarcus!!!!”,  Kyle “Slo-Mo” Anderson, and Kawhi Leonard. I think this is the year where the Spurs may actually be “too old” to win the NBA title.  I’m not sure how much Parker has left in the tank, Duncan will be fine, but this is certainly Manu’s last year to play in the NBA. I think the Spurs would have beaten the Clippers last year had they played Patty Mills more. They may need Patty and every other guard to chip in and lighten the load for Monsieur Parker.


Jalen Rose correctly points out that this is the best roster that the LOL Clippers have ever had in the history of the franchise. 

You have a locker room filled with so many strong personalities that I think that this will be Doc Rivers finest job as a head coach, if he somehow gets this team to the NBA Finals (An NBA Finals that I will have no choice but to root for Lebron if the Clippers win the West–kind of like when I had to root for Chicago back in the late 90’s vs. Utah). I am extremely curious how things play out with Chris Paul, Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson,Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Austin Rivers.

What is the over/under on how many times Paul Pierce utters the phrase  “Ya’ll childish” as he exits the locker room while shaking his head? Who will be the guy who gets cut by the team for breaking Austin Rivers’ jaw? Remember when the Wizards had Javale McGhee, Javaris Critendon, Deshawn Stevenson, and Gilbert Arenas on the same team? If managing that team was like handling nitro glycerin, this Clipper roster is like juggling grenades.


I think the Cavs go at least 37-4 at home this year. There is talk about them being “angry”, more focused and all that nonsense. They can do all that, but it’s a long season. They should focus more on being healthy. It isn’t a matter of if Kyrie will hurt himself again, but when. They will be a more cohesive unit than they were last year heading into the playoffs, and I can’t expect Kevin Love to lay another egg this season (I mean for him at least—he still put up decent numbers).  They will figure it out. They would have to try to not make the Finals in that conference.


He is reason enough that the Mavericks will make the playoffs.  He is poised to win Coach of the Year honors for the roster he is working with this season. Like I said before, he is the second best coach in the league behind “Pops.”


Just isn’t the same without Craig Sager and those goofy ass suits. I miss that dude.  I hope he gets well soon.




If the Spurs would have somehow gotten Lawson, this season would have been a wrap. Ty finally has something to work with, and he has a lot to prove to all his doubters. The Rockets are going to get up and down the court and will average at least 110 points a game. Rockets games will be easier to digest—well that is until the 4th quarter where Harden starts initiating the free throw contests. But the first 3 quarters will be good. Give me a Rockets vs. OKC/Golden State/ San Antonio any night of the week though.


Check the stocks. Under Armour is killing the game right now. Shares are like 102 points the last time I checked. Steph Curry is winning on the court and off of it. Homie got a little piece of the action and has bought stake in the company (Getting a little bit of everything in today’s preview at zero to little cost).

Speaking of winners, can we give props to Dell Curry? The guy had a very solid NBA career, married a beautiful and smart woman, and has two sons in the NBA. One of them is coming off of an NBA title, and the other played 4 years at Duke and just got a legit contract with the Kings. #Winning.


Yes Sasha Vujacic is still in the league, and may be playing with the New York Knicks this season. Need I say more?


The best player to come out of the state of Kansas in a very, very long time. He has height, lateral quickness, defense, and ups. He will get 8 points a game just from Rondo throwing him oops all season. Imagine if you could  let  Tyson Chandler play defense out on the perimeter. Exactly!!!


XAVIER (As in David West’s alma mater).

 I’ve always thought D. West would be the perfect Spur, and he will prove his worth on this roster. He is a true professional and after seeing him beat up on San Antonio throughout the years, it is cool to see him on the side of the good guys. I want so badly to pencil them in for the Finals. I just don’t know if they enough backcourt depth to make it happen. 



New stars are good for the league. I’ve already talked about some of this year’s rookies, but the Teen Wolves will be the most fun 20 win team you’ve ever seen. They will compete, but they still not quite there yet. Kevin Garnett in that locker room will be nothing but an asset.

He’s already teaching those Youngbloods what it means to be a professional. They would make a great NBA Jam team. Wiggins, Lavine, and Shabazz Mahummud would be a fun trio to run with (Rubio as the alternate). They are not too far away from being where OKC was back in ’08-10. They just have to be smart (don’t laugh its possible—anything is possible) with personnel moves the next 3 years.

Utah has a decent core coming back. Going up to Salt Lake City is no longer an easy W. They are going to make teams earn it. I like Heyward. Trey Burke still has yet to hit his full potential, Rudy Gobert aint no punk, and we still don’t know where Dante Exum will be as a player. If they were in the Eastern Conference, I could be talked into them making the playoffs.


The three biggest additions to the Dallas Mavericks, and they will still make the playoffs. I rest my case.



West Standings (in no particular order)

Oklahoma City (if healthy)


Golden State

San Antonio


Los Angeles Clippers


New Orleans


East standings (in no particular)










Eastern Conference Finals

Cleveland vs. Milwaukee (Cleveland wins 4-2)


Western Conference Finals

Golden State vs. Oklahoma City (if healthy)


Oklahoma City (if healthy) vs. Cleveland (Cleveland wins 4-3)





For my boy KD

8 Jul

A solid career move in my opinion. Congratulations and best of luck to the newly engaged Kevin Durant and Monica Wright.

I only heard the crowd reaction but I knew something dope had happened

11 May

NBA WEEK IN REVIEW: The shock’s slowly wearing off

3 Nov

Can you recall a more interestingly bizarre first week of the NBA season?

One week ago the questions going into the season were spicy enough topics:

Was this the begging of the Lebron dominated ascendancy where he’d win 3 of the next 5 NBA titles?

How long would it take for the Lakers to gel on their run to grab the Western Conference title from the OKC Thunder?

Ray Allen defecting to the Miami Heat, adding fuel to the recently developed rivalry with the Boston Celtics,
and the additions to the Celtics roster in wake of Allen’s departure; with Courtney Lee and Jason Terry.

A week ago about this time in the afternoon, I was smugly sporting my OKC Thunder playoff shirt, having excited discussions about the rapidly approaching San Antonio game on Nov. 1st. OKC was the defending champs of the West, and even with the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, I felt like it was still their title to lose. It would be just a matter of getting better during playoff moments and adding another year of experience under the belts.

Last Saturday night, I was watching one of the College Football games when I saw James Harden’s name go across the ticker. I got excited because this was the news I was expecting–that the Thunder had finally reached an agreement with him.

TRADE??????????? TRADE!!!!!!!!!!! TRADE?????????????

What the FUCK?

Everyone in the room looked at each other in shock, my friend who’s a Heat fan laughed in excitement. I was stunned. Trade James Harden for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and two draft picks. My main man James Harden, not only was he my 2nd favorite player on the team, but he was an integral part of last year’s playoff run. He was just going to get better, and when have you ever seen a title contender tinker with locker room chemistry after getting SO CLOSE to an NBA title?

Wow. I was too high to really deal with it the first night. When I woke up, I had to question if I dreamed seeing that news. However ESPN confirmed the awful news the next day when I checked the internet.

I knew last year’s team was special, even then I knew there was a chance that this particular group of guys was going to change. I knew there was a chance Royal Ivey wouldn’t get picked back up. I was hoping Derek Fisher’s Laker ass wouldn’t be returning. I did not see this coming, and was at least hoping they’d give it another run with the core before breaking up RUN OKC.

Tough night to be an Okie. Notre dame waxes the Sooner’s ass and the Thunder trade away one of the major championship cogs

I’d never seen anything play out like that deteriorating into a trade so suddenly. Maybe Presti didn’t want to drag it out? They say he would get the best deal if he traded Harden before the season began. Five days before the season started?

It wasn’t a very public affair, there were no shots traded through the media, so that is what makes it seem so shocking. There was so much time to still work a deal out, why did this seem odd, strange, almost spiteful. Like “Fuck you! We’ll send you to Houston, see how much you like being the man for a losing team.”

I blame both sides, if there is blame to assign. I definitely feel like there were so many avenues for management to take with this:

Give the team another run and then make decisions on who stays and who goes next off-season. This way you could determine whether it was a good idea to pay Kendrick Perkins big money or amnesty him, trade Ibaka Blocka Flame for prospects, find a suitable point guard so Westbrook can move to the 2, or give Harden an opportunity to show he’s worth max money.

The decision to trade him just seems haste. I almost feel like it had nothing to do with what was happening on the court. I wonder if the front office didn’t feel they could give max-money to a young man dumb enough to get filmed making it rain at the strip club.

Maybe this was brought up during negotiations and it put Harden off, causing a behind-the- scenes souring on both parties. Let’s not forget the terrible NBA Finals he had. He was so awful that I wondered if he was partying too much in South Beach during games 3 through 5. Anyone remember this?

If I recall correctly he’d missed a dunk or two that game also. That missed layup though was critical. Had he made that shot, we may only be talking about the nasty game that Westbrook brought that night rather than his gaffe during the endgame that sewed up the W for Miami. Of course they wouldn’t have even been in the NBA Finals had it not been for “Big Game James II” going HAM against the Lakers and Mavs.

Who’s to say after an Olympic year and the memory of that Finals wasn’t going to fuel him to put it altogether during a Contract year? If anyone was poised for a big year it was Harden. If any team was poised to dethrone Lebron and the Heat it was OKC.

Sure you get some future picks and more pieces for the future but you never know what is going to happen. Ask Penny Hardaway if there are any guarantees.

Which is why part of me feels disappointed that Harden wanted to leave a winning team to be the man on a losing team.
Was six million that big of a deal when you could make some serious loot off endorsements and playoff share?
At the age of 23 how much more money do you need? What can you get at 60 million that you can’t get at 54 million?
Reportedly everyone else had taken less to stay with the team except Harden.

There’s no guarantee that the next big contract would be there at age 27 (arguably a player’s prime)so I guess I see the urgency. If Harden is the kind of dude who plays for money and not championships, then maybe he is better off on a different team.

It feels kind of like a nasty break up. Except in break ups you don’t have to wait four years to get back together. Seeing Harden in a Rockets uniform is like seeing a girl you were in love with married to the very next guy she dated, only 2 months after you broke up.

I haven’t even processed the break up and this cat is already putting up monster games for the Rockets. OUCH. Big time. Much like a jilted lover, I’m looking at all the press clippings, calling up my friends in Houston to ask about him.

It’s just too soon.

I ain’t mad at ya mane. Make it rain down there in Houston

The Thunder definitely seemed like a team in shock against the Spurs. I’m sure it couldn’t have felt good knowing that the last time they played on the Spurs court they had Harden to go to war with. They played well enough to win, that is until Tony Parker took over the last minute of the game.

In addition to giving up Harden, they traded Cole Aldrich, Daquan Cook, and Lazar Hayward, and chose not to re-sign “Royale with Cheese” and “D-Fish”

That’s half of last year’s team gone, with a few new faces in Perry Jones III, Lamb, K-Mart, and Hasheem Thabeet.
It’s not easy to defend a Western Conference title with so much transition in the locker room. I imagine the shock is slowly wearing off and by next month, the 82 game machine will be in full tilt and it’ll be less foreign to see Harden in that Rocket Red and not in Thunder Blue ( I gotta give KD credit on how well he has managed to keep things moving forward–He was quoted after the Spurs game as saying “I back the front office fully on their decisions”).

By All Star Break we’ll see them getting comfortable with each other and I think the 2nd half is where we’ll get a true gauge of how this particular group will mesh. “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons is ready to write them off and hand it to the Lakers( kind of funny because I do recall him admonishing the Thunder for “reaching” for Harden when they could have Stephen Curry). I’m still in wait and see mode. This group may not be able to handle the Heat in June, but I think they can still handle the Lakers in April.

The jury is still out on the Lakers. They kind of look old right now, and Nash and Kobe are both already hurt. We don’t know how Dwight Howard’s back will hold up, Jamison and Artest (I refuse to call him World Peace)are both old. They looked terrible last night without Nash. I’m not sold on their bench either.

Maybe this makes the Spurs sleepers as well, but they still lack a big dude in the post to help out Tim Duncan.

So right now I feel like it’s too early to write the OKC boys off. I kind of like the look of this year’s team. I don’t doubt Westbrook and Durant’s drive to be champions. You definitely can’t doubt their talent. Who’s to say Miami stays healthy? Who’s to say Chris Bosh doesn’t come out and do something to ruin the locker room chemistry in Miami? Chicago seemed poised to knock off the Heat until D. Rose’s unfortunate ACL tear. But that is why they play the game. As my favorite sports reporter Chris Arnold used to say back int the day, ” You never know.”

I’m running with these boys again this year, and see where they take me. KD is right, time to move forward. And yes, I will definitely be attending a Rockets game or two this year to see my main man James put up some points. Happy for him that he gets to be 23 years old and get paid 80 million dollars to live in Houston. He’s going to have a good time. I just don’t think it will translate into a championship ring.

Mr. 4th Quarter

9 Jun

Last Saturday, while my buddy slept on his couch, I silently watched in awe; a jaw dropping stretch of basketball that evoked the ghost of Michael Jordan.

Eating crow never tasted so good.

9 Jun

When I bought tickets to game 6 I knew there was a chance that it may not happen. Game 3 was a guarantee but there weren’t nearly enough good seats to choose from. I had predicted the Spurs in 6 so I knew that if there was indeed a game 6 then that would probably be the night they’d clinch. I didn’t think it would be the Thunder who would do the clinching.

There were a couple expensive lessons that I learned from this round of hoops:

1) You never know. I felt so sure about both series that I bet on both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. I thought a Heat vs. Spurs Finals was in the making with the Spurs dispatching Miami in six. ERRR WRONG!!!!

I didn’t foresee Scotty Brooks outcoaching Popovich during this series. Now I’m not saying He made better decisions than Popovich. Pops did the best he could with what he had. I just didn’t foresee Brooks putting together a game plan and the boys sticking to it.

Somehow I never saw the Sefolosha adjustment coming, and I definitely never saw it being a pivotal turning point in the series.  I didn’t think old Russ would have more assists than Tony Parker either.

As for the Celts-Heat series. I just thought the C’s were too banged up to keep up with the Heat. I gotta give credit to Doc Rivers for his great job of coaching them this series.

I didn’t give Spoelstra enough credit for being the overwhelmed coach he is. I just thought the Heat would out muscle the Celtics. After watching how badly game 2 was called, I was sure the fix was in.

I thought it was a done deal before the series even started. I wasn’t even going to bother watching it except to see the greatness of Rajon rondo. I sure as fuck wasn’t going to bother previewing the series in a blog.

As of today the C’s are sitting pretty with a 3-2 series lead, and with game 6 being in the Garden tonight, It could be  a wrap. Once again, never a sure thing. I ‘d say I wouldn’t bet on it but I already did.

Which brings me to lesson number 2) Don’t bet against teams you like. I bet with my head and not my heart, and normally this is a good thing. Betting against your favorite team is just not a good idea. All it did was mix me up inside. I wanted the Thunder to win but I also didn’t want to lose 50 bucks.

It created a struggle within me and finally I just made peace with the fact that neither outcome was going to completely feel good (as is much of life isn’t it?).

I’m not a Celtics fan  but I do like a lot of their players. I’ve always dug Garnett’s passion for the game, Rondo is a sick motherfucker–probably the sickest they have right now.

Pierce and Ray Allen of course are two guys I have followed for years (even open debating why the Mavs took Dirk instead of Pierce but I guess it worked out for everyone involved).

So its hard not to root for them and root against Miami.  My money and heart were in two different places and that is probably not a good thing.

Expensive lesson # 3 is that the scalping game has flipped since 1999. No one buys tickets at the games anymore. The best place to scalp and be scalped is the internet. The game has changed son!

My boy tried to tell me this but I didn’t listen. I could get anyone to pay me what I had bought for my extra ticket and ended up selling it at a loss of 80 bones.

Every venue and city has different laws governing the world of scalping and it pays to know what they are. It is important to know where the buyers are and where the sellers will be.

I got taken for sure but it was 7:30 and it was raining. I wasn’t going to be spend all night trying to get rid of the ticket. The best offer I got was 120 (I made sure to ask the guy who sat next to me how much he paid. He said 150.)

In some out of the way venues like the Cynthia Mitchell Pavillion in the Woodlands, Texas, it is quite possible to walk up and get a ticket for cheap because it is out of the way.

I’ve often heard of people showing up 5 minutes before the start of an event and see scalpers giving away tickets because they weren’t nearly as easy to sell as they thought (ME).

This made me realize that the venue in OKC is a seller’s market and that I could’ve walked up and gotten my ticket for way less than I paid on the internet.

I have the feeling that I can get Finals tickets for a fairly reasonable price if I’m patient. Unfortunately I won’t be able to see them clinch in person. all the home games fall on nights that I work except game 2. So if I go (which I probably will)

that will be the one I attend.

Quick notes from being in attendance for game 6:

Can’t tell you how excited I was to see my playoff t-shirt waiting for me in my seat. I put it on before I even sat down and joined the throng of hungry fans there to see the dogfight that was about to commence.

True I had bet against my boys, but in every way I was there to support OKC. Everyone there for the game seemed to have the same attitude. They were going to bring the series to a close, and the fans were not going to let the Thunder lose.

It’s pretty cool to be part of a fan base that can actually affect a game. I grew up watching those Arco arena games where the Kings would fucking light up the scoreboard.

Those fans were loud. It was awesome to see how into it they got. Sometimes the noise would reach 120 decibels.

I wish I could have watched the game on TV to see how loud it translated for television. It was bananas inside that arena. The first half was loud in waves.

I caught myself being captivated by the flow of the Spurs offense in the first half. There they were, Tim Duncan (who I’d watched play since he was a freshman at Wake Forest), Manu Gonobili ( My homey Lou’s favorite player) and Tony Parker. Their execution the first quarter was flawless.

I couldn’t help but stare in awe as Tony Parker carved the Thunder defense up for 21 first quarter points. It was unreal. It wasn’t like I was cheering for the Spurs, but I was digging the sometimes breathtaking plays they were making. Stephen jackson was drilling every open three available.

It was crazy. Yet despite how good the Spurs looked, there still was no doubt that the Thunder were going to come back. When Durant nailed the deep three on two defenders with .4 seconds left, it was clear that the Spurs were in trouble. During halftime out in the corridors every patron had the same look, like “WE GOT THIS!”

I sent that exact text to my boy in Portland who replied ” Naw man its going back to San Antonio. You can’t give up 63 first half points and expect to win.”

I wasn’t surprised with the reply. He hadn’t the fortune of seeing as many Thunder games as I had this season. He hadn’t seen what Durant had been doing all Post-season, turning it on in the last quarter to take it from cats. There was no doubt that they’d make a run. 18 first half points was a joke. A lead that early cannot be taken seriously.

Besides, old dude was Portland what did he know? His franchise were the ones who passed up on Durant to get Oden. They were like the cats on Star Search who chose some random ass dude over Dave Chappelle.

I went to concessions and grabbed a Coca-Cola and caffeinated myself. When the second half began I made sure that not only was I into it, but that everyone in my section was as well.

I hi-fived the little kids and old folks nearby. I yelled at the top of my lungs, jumped up and down. The crowd didn’t sit the whole second half (vaguely reminiscent of Warriors fans in Oracle) and things went from loud to obnoxiously loud once the boys had trimmed the first half 18 point deficit to 10.

When we cut it to five I knew it was all over. There was no way the Spurs were going to win.

The third quarter was the best spurt of basketball throughout the game. The thunder made a run, then the Spurs made one, then the Thunder countered. There were some brilliant plays, and some athletic ones and honestly everything kind of blurred together.

I couldn’t even tell you one particular moment from the quarter. But it was an awesome sight to see and clearly I was in the right place at the right time. It was loud and it was exciting and it was euphoric. I looked up at the scoreboard and realized that KD already had put up a quiet 29 points.

Unfortunately the fourth quarter didn’t flow as well. There were too many stops and starts between officials whistles and TV timeouts.

There was a lot of dancing in the aisles during the timeouts and everyone had fun, but the officials and their questionable calls marred what should have been an outstanding ending. It was a bit unsettling how one-sided the calls were going (When I saw Joey Crawford I knew the fix was in but not FOR the Thunder).

I almost felt sorry the Spurs. Then I remembered this and the resulting suspensions (bullshit interpretation of the ‘leaving the bench” rule) that cost the Suns a chance to truly compete for the NBA Finals. So then I was like fuck ’em.

They had benefited from some calls so no reason to feel bad that Durant was getting Superstar treatment now ( a guy in the stands joked that Durant always misses 1 of 2 free throws if he got to the line because of a bad call–almost as if he felt guilty about it).

The end of the game was pretty sweet–punctuated by a Perkins dunk that send the crowd into a frenzy kinda like this one. It was all but over.

The Thunder had vanquished the Spurs. And I couldn’t think of a more worthy opponent (after the game KD said that it was the toughest win he’d ever had  as an NBA player).

Being in the arena for the trophy celebration was a bit unreal. Seeing everyone in the crow in synch, cheering as one, moving as one was a sight. KD couldn’t even talk because we were shouting MVP. He stopped and just took it all in.

I was taken back to the moment when I first saw him his freshman year at Texas, warming up for a pres-season game against some small college.

There was no way I could have imagined that we’d both be in Oklahoma City celebrating (albeit differently) the success of a pro basketball team.

I started thinking of other post championship celebrations. The ones like I’d seen on the Madden video games. The time I watched jealously as Houston celebrated the Clutch City Rockets (which Scott Brooks was a member of). It was an incredible thing to be apart of.

There is a festive atmosphere that rivals collegiate sports at a Thunder game from the  outlandish outfits to the fevered pitch of the crowd (I guess this makes sense because up until recently they only had college teams to root for).

And though there are some high toned people who attend, it is nowhere as bad as attending a Mavs game. Everyone seems overdressed for those things.

In the form of celebs I saw no one but radio personality/former Cowpoke Doug Gottlieb and former MLB manager Tony LaRussa.  People aren’t there for a fashion show.

They come to see hoops and even those who are there for the scene have no choice but to represent. It’s a great experience and if you ever get a chance to go to an OKC game in the future, I recommend you do so (though tickets are much harder to get than when they first got here).

Of course things didn’t go perfectly. I had lost 80 bucks on my extra ticket. Before warm ups some dude tried to pick a fight with one of the people sitting next to me (he was so drunk that he passed out in his seat before the start of the 2nd quarter).

The water fountains weren’t turned on upstairs so I was hella thirsty throughout the 4th quarter.

But it was worth every dollar spent and every inconvenience I endured to be there to celebrate the team’s success. The jubilant high I felt leaving the arena was unparalleled (And I have tried many a drug and gotten many a laid).

My favorite basketball team of all time was going to the NBA finals. Now it was only a question of who we were playing next and if I was going to attend any of the games(More than likely).

I didn’t know it could feel so good to be so wrong.

Team is One!

Western Conference Finals Preview

23 May

OKC’s win over the Lakers on Monday left me feeling pretty euphoric. I remember the disappointment in 2010 when Pau Gasol’s put back on a Kobe Bryant miss did the boys in.  The Lakers of course went on to win the title that year.

And of course Oklahoma City used that experience to help them get to the Western Conference Finals where they learned even more lessons about what it takes to win in the playoffs.

It felt good to see them beat Kobe and the villainous Lakers ( The Lakers are one of the four storied “Sports Dynasties that make me puke with hatred 1) Yankees 2) Lakers 3) Notre Dame and 4) The Duke Blue Devils).  I respect Kobe (especially after his  performance in game 5– that reverse dunk gave me chills) but Ron Artest’s crazy ass needs to be locked up in a mental facility.

Gasol would be one of my favorite players if he played on any other team. Bynum is a head case too. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and DeMarcus Cousins were related somehow.

Fuck those guys. It always feels good to see them lose. It felt REAAALLLLLLy fucking good to see them get beat by my favorite team. It felt almost as good as when the Texas Rangers beat the Yankees in the ALCS a couple years ago. As good as it felt to get caught up in the euphoria, I knew that the party was over after Monday.

Down on I-35, the Spurs loomed quite large and there is no way the Thunder can play as badly as they had against L.A. and expect to advance to the NBA Finals. These Okies here think that they know basketball because they have been following it all of 4 years. I walked into my local pub and immediately started baited homers into taking bets with me.

I had found at least 4 suckers willing to bet a substantial amount of money on the Thunder when I realized that it may be bad karma to bet against your favorite team–no matter how sure I am of the outcome.

Its been a weird playoff season and I hated the thought of paying off hundreds of dollars to people because of a fluke injury to one of the Spurs best players. Besides,I’m also really excited about what an exciting series this is going to be and I’d hate to ruin my ability to enjoy it because a few hundred bucks.

I’ve decided to keep the betting to a minimum and just enjoy the series for what will surely be some entertaining series of up and down basketball (and for all intents and purposes the NBA Finals–whoever wins this will win it all).

As much as I like my Oklahoma City Thunder, I still don’t think they are ready to win a championship yet. They played only one complete game last series, and that was game 1.

They played like shit until the very end of games 2-4 and somehow were up 3-1 going into game 5 9and probably should have swept). Kobe was the only player who showed up for the entirety of game 5. Everyone else was hit or miss on offense (though Gasol had a double double).

Now these Okie homers have been accusing me of being a Spurs fan and anti-Thunder(funny how all the fans came out of the woodwork once they started winning–back when they sucked you couldn’t find people who even knew there was NBA in Oklahoma City), but anyone who knows hoops can clearly see that the Spurs are playing on a whole other level than any other team still in the playoffs. OKC can’t fuck around like they have been doing and expect to win more than a couple wins this round.

The margin for error is EXTREMELY small against Tim Duncan and company. That being said, an injury can change the whole dynamic of the series and they still have to play the game. So without further ado, (and the for the first time ever) here’s BMICK’s breakdown of the Western Conference Finals.

First let’s start with the starting lineups:

C- Kendrick Perkins vs. Boris Diaw.

This match-up is a wash. Diaw doesn’t scare anyone on the offensive end, but having a point guard like Tony Parker will make him look better (much like his playing days with Nash in Phoenix).  On the flip side of that Perkins won’t do much on the offensive end either. The Thunder will feel lucky if Perk gets double figures in boards and points.

Hopefully Perk won’t get too crazy and try to do too much. He seems to have at least 2 turnovers a game because he didn’t pass the ball soon enough on a break or he tried to take a defender off the dribble. He should never be handling the rock.

If he sticks to what he is best at ( setting screens and rebounding) he will have done his job. Diaw is a pretty decent defender and rebounder. He will more than likely come off Perkins to help out when Durant and Westbrook penetrate into the paint (which may actually open up Perkins for some easy dunks). Diaw won’t have to work too hard defending Perkins though.

PF- Serge Ibaka vs. Tim Duncan. 

Old man Duncan has turned it on this playoffs, but Serge won’t make it easy on him this round.  The second most vote-getter for Defensive player of the year will have his hands full. Duncan will have his hands full on the offensive end but his creativity will no doubt help.

The man can score in a number of ways and his passing is always on point–especially for a big man. Ibaka will help spread things out if his jumper continues to fall but he’ll get his points off of put backs and easy set ups from Harden, Durant and Westbrook.  Duncan shouldn’t exert too much energy on the defensive end guarding Ibaka.

I almost want to call this a wash but that would be an insult to Duncan. Duncan will get his on occasion but it won’t be exactly easy. Slight Advantage Spurs. It would be a huge advantage if this were 2003, but then again the Spurs would be playing the Sonics and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Moving right along.

SF Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard

Big advantage Thunder. Durant no doubt will feel a bit of relief at not having to deal with the brute strength of “Artest the pest” or Shawn Marion’s length this round. He should be able to just shoot over Leonard or drive right by him. Its obvious that Leonard is going to be a good player in the league but he’s going to be a bit overwhelmed here.

Durant should hit his scoring average pretty easily here and Leonard will need lots of help from his big men on D.  On the other side of the court Durant won’t have to work as hard on D and may get the opportunity to roam a little and help out when Timmy D gets the ball. This match-up does not bode well for San Antonio.

SG  Thabo Sefolosha vs Danny Green

I will certainly admit that I’m a pretty big Danny Green fan. Dude used to tea bag fools back in his Carolina days. He could also shoot the 3-ball. Now he has added defense to his resume and has given himself a chance to stick in the league. I’m very happy for the guy.He was my favorite player on that championship squad.

He and Thabo are actually near mirror images of each other. Green is a better shooter but Thabo is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Thabo can’t create his own shot and won’t score unless he gets an open three or a fast break dunk. They kind of cancel each other out. This match-up is pretty even. I don’t think either player will make much of a difference in the box-scores.

PG- Russell Westbrook vs. Tony Parker

This match-up is the one that gives me goosebumps. We might actually see more of this match-up during the Olympics. You have in Westbrook arguably the best up and coming PG. While Tony Parker is the once prodigy now grizzled veteran. Without all the paparazzi and bullshit baggage from his wife (and the sexcapades with Brent Barry’s old lady) the Frenchman can concentrate on just playing basketball.

*Quick aside, I fucking hate these French cats coming into my country and stealing up all the hot white women. It’s a little unfair. Tony Parker is already good looking, he’s a mad talented baller, and the nigga speaks French? C’mon Tony give us american bruthas  a chance. I bet he Batum, and Diaw clean up whenever they meet up after games. I know how the French get down. I’ve seen Maitresse.*

Westbrook is stronger than Parker and can probably post him up any time he wants. Both point guards are lightening quick. Westbrook has a slightly better jumper with a bit more range and he is a better defender. Parker is a better distributor and takes care of the ball better. Its a close call but I’m gonna give the edge to San Antonio.

Although Westbrook has gotten better about the way he handles the ball, he can just as easily shoot the Thunder out of the game by taking too many jumpers or driving unwisely into traffic. it is still going to be an awesome matchup and probably is the best Point Guard match-up we will see in the playoffs (unless Rondo and the C’s make it out of the Eastern Conference). I’m so excited to see this one go down.

Now let’s talk about the benches of both squads.

Nick Collison, Nazr Mohammed, Derek Fisher, James Harden Daequan Cook 


Dejuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Stephen Jackson, Gary Neal, Manu Ginoboili, Matt Bonner, and sometimes Patty Mills.

This one favors San Antonio big time. Oklahoma City has some big bodies to help deal with Duncan (with Collison and Mohammed), who is the only legitimate post player for San Antonio. They don’t have anyone who can consistently create their own shot besides James Harden who can’t be guarded by anyone (I was watching him and Royal Ivey goof off during warm ups and Royal was draped all over him in the corner of the 3 point line corner and somehow Harden still swished it. After he made it he yelled “Yeah” right in Ivey’s ear–I started laughing).

Fisher can hit the spot up 3’s and so can Cook, but neither can create their own shots, and both need Harden to set them up for the wide open treys. Collison will get the occasional put back dunk and clean up on the boards and Mohammed as well, but they will only really be called upon to spell Perkins and Ibaka for rest and foul trouble.

Spurs have a really nice bench with dudes who’d be starting on lesser teams. Manu of course is the original version of James Harden (though James is stronger and faster) and will certainly get his coming off the bench. Stephen Jackson though not as quick as he once, is still long and gritty and may come off the bench once Leonard gets into foul trouble. Bro can still shoot the three and may make Durant work a little harder to get his points.

Bonner with his funny release will hit the open jumpers if you let him. Tiago Splitter is an excellent passer from the post, and Gary Neal will make you pay if you leave him open. I repeat big advantage Spurs.

Coaches- Scott Brooks vs. Gregg Popovich

Do I even need to go into this one? Pop is the best NBA coach alive not named Phil Jackson and showed his clear superiority against Vinny Del Negro during the Clippers series. His attention to detail is immense and the guy never misses a beat. A few years ago against the Hornets during a round 2 series, there was an overtime classic in a pivotal game (either game 3 or 5).

There was some kind of clock malfunction and the refs were dealing with it for a few minutes. While Byron Scott was kind of hanging out, looking ahead, and some of the New Orleans players were milling around and getting ready to restart the game, Popovich had his troops rounded up, drawing up extra plays for when the game recommenced. My thought at the time was “Damn, that’s genius. Popovich is using this as an extra time-out. ”

Now this might not like such a big deal to some people. It may even seem obvious to those who really follow the game. But my question is that if this was the obvious thing to do, then why wasn’t Byron Scott doing it?

It’s little things like that which separate Pop from the average NBA coach. The dude is the NBA equivalent to Bill Belichick (except he is much better at making draft picks).

What can I say? Scotty Brooks is a bit over matched on this one. Some of the Thunder troubles on offense I do blame on Brooks. When the team is settling for too many ill-timed jumpers instead of taking the ball to the rack, Brooks is the guy I blame for not being on top of them.

In game 5, they should have been attacking the rim with vengeance once Andrew “nutbag” Bynum picked up his fourth foul. Instead Durant, Westbrook, and Sefolosha just kept shooting jumper after jumper. I feel this is where Brooks has to remind them about what worked.

If the Thunder have these long stretches of basketball amnesia it will be a short series for them. San Antonio will run them out of AT&T, and Chesapeake Arena.

Brooks is certainly a good coach, but when it comes to X’s and O’s he’s a bit over matched in this series.

So what does OKC have to do in order to win this series?

I just said it. Attack the rim repeatedly. If Duncan is the only legit post presence, get him into foul trouble. As good as the  San Antonio Bench is they don’t have anyone who can score in the post other than Duncan.

He is their offensive front line. If he is on the bench the Spurs will be relegated to jump shots. Parker and Ginobili will get theirs, for sure they can get in the paint, but those are the only guys that can create their own shots.

They cannot simply settle for jump shots, and they cannot expect to win by going 1 on 5 with isolation sets. They will need to pass the ball as well as they did during their regular season drubbing of the Bulls (one of the best and most complete games they played all year).

On defense their success will depend on how well each player can defend one on one. This current Spurs team is designed to have one post player surrounded by four spot up shooters. Any kind of double team can result in an open 3 ball for San Antonio if OKC doesn’t rotate fast enough.

Fast break points won’t be enough to get them 4 wins. It is going to take the perfect storm for them to accomplish this. Everyone is going to have to be on their A game because San Antonio will definitely be on theirs.

Oklahoma City has the horses  to beat San Antonio but do they have the focus and discipline to execute a game plan for a full 48 minutes, four times in a series? Maybe they will, but judging from the last 2 rounds they look suspect.

Let’s face it, the Mavs were done the minute they let Caron “tough juice”Butler, Tyson Chandler, Stevenson, and Barea run off. The Lakers overachieved this year and sorely missed the stability of Phil Jackson during the end-game periods of last round.

San Antonio will be their toughest opponent yet and possibly the toughest test they will have  all playoffs. If they win, this it will be the equivalent of the ’92 Cowboys beating the 49ers in San Francisco. It’d be a surprise but not necessarily an upset.

It’s a fascinating match- up. I think every game will be extremely close with at least two of them going into overtime. At that it will come down to clutch shooting, timely coaching, and a deep bench. I’m going with the Spurs in six games.

I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. I think OKC is still one more playoff heartbreak away from being ready for an NBA championship.

Its San Antonio’s crown to lose (barring major injury of course)

Geeekin out on the internet Pt. 1: All things KD

20 Apr





Ghetto Deer

16 Jan

I propose that this be Kevin Durant’s new nickname and that they show this video every time he’s coming out of a timeout to hit a game-winning jumper.

Okie in Texans clothing

5 Apr

Will the play of this 22 year old kid affect the next five years of my life?

Will the play of this 22 year old kid affect the next five years of my life?

My lady-friend and I went to visit OKC for a museum exhibit and the Thunder vs. Blazers game.

I had jokingly said that if the THunder won I’d stay in Oklahoma and if Portland came out ahead then I’d move back to PDX.

As the ass whupping mounted and the Thunder continued to get pummeled

I started wondering if a move to Portland should really take place.

The Blazers will be good for at least six more years, they have a really nice young nucleus and are a big time defender/three point shooter/rebounder/slasher away from being extremely dangerous.

I’m no sure who’d fit but they look good. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they made the conference finals and took two games from the Lakers.

The Thunder should look to emulate the Blazers success. Good draft picks and savvy personnel decisions are what put Portland in the position they are in now.

The Thunder get two first round picks this year, and if the picks aren’t Ricky Rubio or Blake Griffith I say trade them for rebounding and point guard help.

You have to get Durant some help out there. Westbrook is nice but he’s a two guard, and besides Green they have a lot of scrubs on that squad. I’ve even suggested trying to trade for T.J. Ford or someone like that……

I think if they can keep Durant happy, then the city of OKC will have a happy future ahead of itself.

In five years, they can have a playoff contender team, possibly a Whole Foods store in its city, and more revenue to attract business and people.

I wouldn’t be surprised if five years from now it was a really hip, trendy place to live.

There is a good community of good local artists around mid-town area, and it has a down home vibe to it that is quite similar to Austin’s vibe (especially before all the Californians moved there).

I like Oklahoma City and could see myself buying a house there in a few years, the cost of living is relatively low, and it’s close enough to Texas to see my family.

Lots of people don’t know that for a while when I was a kid, I wanted to play baseball at Oklahoma State. (This was before I got into drugs….and women)

Now you’ll find a plethora of squares anywhere, but something I realized after coming back from OKC was how different the vibes are between Tulsa and the capital.

There is a lot more going on in the “city” of course, and getting a basketball team has certainly helped. But it’s a little more folksy, down home and laid back out there than here in T-Town.

It can definitely be squaresville up here. Don’t get me wrong it’s a pretty town with really nicely designed houses, and the people who are cool here are pretty fucking solid.

But there are lots of folks here putting on airs, obsessed with prestige and image, my co-worker Otis calls them $40,000 dollar millionaires.

There is a lot of poverty in OKC but it is what it is. I can really dig on that.

So maybe in five years (depending on whether Durant stays or goes) you’ll find me in Oklahoma City going to 89ers games, and hanging out on my porch drinking tap water (filtered of course Oklahoma water is pretty gross) and listening to tunes in the afternoon sun……..

in other news, working on a second volume of poems that I hope to have ready for print by the end of the summer, the working title is “Good people, Bad habits.” There are about fifty poems that will be in this volume….already excited about what it will look like.

I’ve got gigs in May. Both stand up and poetry reading. Wichita Kansas, check out Myspace.com/bobbymickey for the dates and listings.

Still working on getting stuff in Ithaca and Brooklyn, New York, as well as Toronto for my east coast trip in June/July.


This fall I think i’m gonna take a trip to California and visit old Gary Snyder UC-Davis…..plan to spend a week in the bay, doing some open mics, showcases, and hopefully some good hiking….as for Portland well…..the winds just might take me there by the mid fall……..more to come on that later….and Austin, Texas…haven’t forgotten about you…..maybe in August we can have a little time together…..